DCM TimeFrame TFE200 Home Theater Speaker System Page 2

Photo Gallery

DCM got the octave-to-octave balance mostly just about right (three-fourths the battle for any speaker design), so the TFE200s' presentation of vocals and instruments is natural and believable. On full-range stereo, I found both male and female vocals to be quite accurate, with just an occasional touch of chestiness or "hoo" on the former. Treble was relaxed but nicely extended (once the grilles were off and the speakers tilted back), with quite respectable though not world-class detail and transparency.

As to bass: Yes! The TFE200s produce lots of it, and they do so down to an impressive depth, with powerful output to well below 40 Hz (the lowest note usually encountered in pop/rock/jazz music) and useful response somewhat beyond. In fact, in my room, the DCMs could be a little overpowering in the middle "bass" octaves - say, between 60 and 240 Hz - which occasionally made things like jazz standup bass and deep male voices sound a touch heavy. Pulling the speakers farther from the wall seemed to help a bit, but there was only so far I could go, given the DCMs' size and my listening space.

Still, all of this adds up to truly kick-ass playback of rock & roll. A classic like David Bowie's Let's Dance CD serves up Hungry-Man portions of both level and bottom end, and the TFE200s - supported by 200 watts each from my multichannel power amp - happily obliged on both counts. The DCMs' middle-bass enthusiasm made Carmine Rojas's characteristic woody bass guitar seem a little growly, and they sounded a bit dynamics-shy and a hint "splatty" at really high levels, but both tendencies are true of most cost-conscious speaker designs. Even so, I surely haven't played "China Girl" this loud for a decade or two, and that's always a good sign! (Say, did Stevie Ray Vaughan ever play a better solo, or a more disciplined one, in his too-short life?)

The design of the TFE60C center speaker matches that of the TFE200s reasonably well: The center sounds just a bit brassier or brighter through the lower mids, but overall timbre-matching is about average. Listening from one or the other side, however, as you might when crowded to the edge of the sofa, revealed a measure of audible off-axis coloration: The TFE60C sounded noticeably fuller, even a bit boomy, from a 30° to 40° off-axis vantage point, despite its design scheme of single woofer plus passive radiator.